Testing your urine for ketones using urine testing strips, especially during the first few weeks after starting on the keto diet and are still working to achieve ketosis, may prove to be really helpful. Also, aside from the strips being easy to use, you can test your urine for ketones as often as you like.
However, it is best to test the ketones at the same time daily so as to get a baseline. This will help you to check whether you are progressing well with ketosis or not. In addition, the best times are morning and evening. This is so as the ketone levels are usually on the low earlier on in the day, and even higher as you head towards the end of the day.
Furthermore, interpreting results from the testing strips may not be the same from one strip to another. However, they all have color-coded legends that can be matched up to the test strip. After dipping the strip in urine- in a cup or
whatever container is used- you then match the color on the strip to an accompanying color chart and which estimates the level of your ketosis based on the number of ketones present. The darker the color is, the deeper you are in ketosis, and vice versa. So why is the color on the strip corresponding to a color on the lighter end of the spectrum or reading negative?
This is why. The urine strips are ideal for telling whether you are in ketosis yet or not during the initial weeks after going keto. It is at this time that your body is transitioning to ketones primarily for energy so it is not efficiently burning them for fuel. This makes you excrete most of them through the urine.
However, as you get deeper and deeper into ketosis, the body gets keto-adapted and therefore becomes more optimized in producing them, hence excreting less that is unused. This is why your keto strips show that you are excreting just trace amounts of ketones if any at all. This can be misleading as a lot of people always think that they have been kicked out of ketosis, but this is not the case.
HOW CAN YOU MEASURE KETONE LEVELS?
During ketosis, you can measure your ketone levels in the following ways:
Blood ketone tests.
These are the most accurate and effective ways of measuring one’s ketone levels.
However, its downside is that it is very costly as compared to other methods. It is performed using a strip and a meter that resembles a blood glucose meter. This blood ketone meter tests for a specific kind of blood ketone called beta-hydroxybutyrate.
Moreover, it is better to test your blood ketone levels on a weekly basis so as to ensure that they are within the appropriate ranges for ketosis. The following is a procedure on how to test blood ketones. First, wash your hands and then load the lancet with the needle as per the provided instructions.
Then put a blood ketone strip on the ketone meter and proceed to prick your finger using the lancet, drawing a blood sample. Let the drop of blood fall on the strip and then check the results. Finally carefully and as per the directions, dispose of the lancet and the used strip.
Urine ketone strips.
These are inexpensive as compared to other testing methods. However, these are also not as accurate as of the other methods for testing ketones, although many keto dieters prefer these strips to test for ketones. These test the number of ketones that are leaving your body, and not the circulating ketones.
Though some studies indicate that they are indicative of blood ketones. The urine strips test for a type of ketones called acetoacetate. The following is a process of how to properly use the keto urine strips.
Start by washing your hands and then using your urine sample, dip the absorptive end of the strip into the sample for a few seconds and then remove. Wait for 15 seconds for the strip to change color and then compare the results with the corresponding color on the color chart. After taking the reading, appropriately dispose of the sample and strip, and then wash your hands.
Breath ketone meter.
This can detect ketones from your breath. However, the results are slightly accurate, as they are more accurate than the urine ketone strips but less accurate than the blood ketone strips. The breath ketone meter tests for a type of ketone called acetone.
There are optimal ketone levels allowed for ketosis depending on the test being done or the test method being used.
CAN KETO URINE STRIPS BE WRONG?
Yes, at times. The keto urine strips cannot be 100% accurate, hence not reliable. This is why. The level of hydration may alter the ketones’ concentration in the urine, hence giving you that inaccurate reading. As much as they may not be that precise, they can tell you whether you are ruining ketosis by eating too many carbohydrates or not. This is why resorting to blood ketone testing is a better idea.
WHAT COLOR SHOULD MY URINE KETONE STRIP BE?
Based on various brands that make these keto urine strips, the color coding may be different but in general, a darker shade of purple should indicate a really high level of ketones. Moreover, these strips have a color that indicates a negative test, meaning that no ketones were detected.
A point to note, remember to follow the fifteen-second rule – wait for exactly 15 seconds to read the results on the strip. After 15 seconds, the color may change further, thus giving you a false result.
WHEN SHOULD I TEST FOR URINE KETONES?
The time of testing will depend on your goal for joining keto, or what you want to see from the results. However, according to studies conducted, the reliability of the urine ketone tests has been proven to increase either late in the evening just several hours after eating, or early in the morning.
Whether you choose to go with our suggested times – late evenings or early mornings, or at your own convenient time in the day, ensure that you are consistent so as to easily gauge your progress.
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO CHECK BLOOD KETONES?
If your blood glucose is normal, then it is ideal to test for blood ketones early in the morning, just after your overnight fast. This is so as the circulating ketones are at their highest at this time. However, there are other people who have been reported to have rising blood ketones as the day progresses. Therefore, the only way to find out is by picking a time in a day and then constantly stick to it.
DO KETONE TEST STRIPS STOP WORKING?
The keto urine strips expire in a period of 3 to 6 months after opening. Therefore, it is important that you consider the time that you want to be using them. If you use them after the expiration date, then they will not work and will give you false results.
WHAT SHOULD MY KETONE LEVEL BE IN KETOSIS MG/DL?
The circulating blood ketones need to be somewhere between 0.5 mg/dl and 3 mg/dl for the body to achieve optimal ketosis, which is the best state for you to lose weight. At this point, the hunger hormones are reset – hence suppressing your appetite – thus leaving you feeling full and end up not eating that much. Therefore, having a certain amount of ketones in the blood, breath or urine means that your body is burning fat.
When your body is in ketosis, it is burning fat at such high rates that the ketones can be detected in the blood, urine, or breath. In addition, the level of ketones indicates the amount of fat that is being burned. However, to enjoy the benefits of the metabolic state of ketosis minus the harmful side effects, the ketone levels MUST be less than 3 mg/dl.
The following are guidelines for interpreting blood ketone testing results; up to 0.6 mmol/L is normal levels, that is, not in ketosis, 0.6 to 1.5 mmol/ L are medium ketosis levels, 1.5 to 3.0 mmol/L indicates high or deep ketosis and above 3.0 mmol/L shows that one has exceeded the threshold for nutritional ketosis and has (DKA) diabetic ketoacidosis. DKA is highly fatal and one should seek medical attention. This is so as really high blood ketone levels can change the tightly regulated blood pH thus making it more acidic.
The following are the guidelines for interpreting the urine testing strips; less than 5mg/dl indicates negative and that shows you are not in ketosis, the trace is indicated by 5 mg/dl small is shown by 15 mg/dl, moderate is indicated by 40 mg/dL and above 80 mg/dL shows high. The range between small and moderate are favorable for nutritional ketosis. Furthermore, really high ketone levels are a concern for diabetic ketoacidosis.
WHAT BLOOD KETONE LEVELS IS KETOSIS?
The circulating blood ketones are beta-hydroxybutyrate. The preferred blood ketone levels for nutritional ketosis should be between 0.6 mmol/l to 1.5 mmol/ l for medium ketosis and 1.5 mmol/l to 3.0 mmol/l for a high or deep ketosis.
If you are just starting on the keto diet, you can use the keto urine strips to see if you are getting into ketosis by checking your ketone levels. However, if you are already keto-adapted, it is best to use the blood ketone meter to accurately check your ketone levels. The keto urine strips in addition to being simple to use are also pocket-friendly as compared to the blood ketone strips.
All in all, both strips are a good way of helping you in monitoring your ketone levels and adjust your diet so as to maintain the ketones at a level that is optimal for ketosis.